Tom Huizenga

So last weekend at the craft-cocktail den, a few of your more "cultured" friends suddenly diverted the conversation — from the botanical attributes of new navy strength gins to the big 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring.

Henri Dutilleux, a leading French composer who wrote music of luminous perfection, died Wednesday in Paris at age 97. His family announced the death, which was reported by one of his publishers, Schott Music, and the Agence-France Presse.

How much do you know about Richard Wagner? Probably two unfavorable facts: He wrote very long, grandiose operas and was Hitler's favorite composer. As true as they are, those simple examples barely hint at the complexity of this endlessly creative and confounding artist.

We love mothers for all the Hallmark reasons: for their compassion and patience, not to mention giving birth. But some moms aren't exactly greeting card friendly — and none less so than those who live in the opera house.

This is opera, after all, so we expect the outrageous. But operatic moms seem to be disproportionately portrayed as murderers, harpies or generally women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Your Normas, Medeas, Butterflies, Queens of the Night and Clytemnestras.

The young Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder shines in Mozart, Jorge Federico Osorio reintroduces an intoxicating Mexican concerto and Elisveta Blumina reveals the gentle side of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov.

At NPR Music part of our job is to talk with musicians. It's always interesting, sometimes inspiring, infrequently tedious — and once in a blue moon, completely transcendent.

As one door closes, another opens. Last week, we shut down operations at our old Washington, D.C, headquarters; today, we walked into a brand-new building.

Making the move wasn't easy. In 14 years, I'd acquired an impressive amount of stuff, from LPs autographed by Placido Domingo and Tom Jones to books like The Essential Guide to Dutch Music. And did I really need three staple removers?

Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken" begins with the line: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." Frost's traveler must choose between them. But slide that metaphor over to the world of classical music and you will discover hundreds of paths to explore.

For Christians around the world, this week, leading up to Easter Sunday, is one of the most meaningful in the religious calendar. The dramatic story of Jesus' final days, as related in the four Gospels of the New Testament, has been meaningful for composers, too, and a rich source for many musical settings of the Passion story. J.S. Bach is still the benchmark when it comes to composing Passions. His St.

In October, pianist Jonathan Biss set out on a vision quest, a season-long immersion in music by Robert Schumann.

New albums of music by the "Three Bs," Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, prove that going back to basics has its advantages. Hear a sweet-toned violin concerto, an audacious piano sonata and a solo cello suite caressed by a lute.

It's a question virtually as old as the art forms themselves: Are ballet and opera elitist?

Elephants, Egyptian palaces, politics and love triangles — now we're talking grand opera!

It's Marches Madness! Throughout this month, we're posting some of our favorite marches — from the concert hall, opera stage and parade ground. Got one we should hear? Played any yourself? Let us know in the comments section.

It's Marches Madness! Throughout this month, we're posting some of our favorite marches — from the concert hall, opera stage and parade ground. Got one we should hear? Played any yourself? Let us know in the comments section.

Ah, the joys of Monday morning quarterbacking, classical style.

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